After nearly two years of debate, lawmakers have approved prison reform after Gov. John Kitzhaber stepped back from his hopes of changing the stateâs tough sentencing guidelines (âThe Hard Truth About Oregon Prisons,â WW, March 13, 2013). Kitzhaber got budget savingsâan estimated $326 million over 10 yearsâwhile district attorneys who opposed his original plan kept Measures 11 and 57 sentencing guidelines intact. One big loser: the Pew Public Safety Performance Project, which lobbied hard to roll back mandatory minimum sentences. Tweaks to sentencing for felony marijuana crimes and driving while suspended will limit the prison population to just above the current level of 14,300.
As lawmakers limp to the 2013 sessionâs finish, Salem gossip is centered on an attempted takedown of the popular barbecue that uber-lobbyist Mark Nelson and the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association throw in the sessionâs waning days. Marion County health supervisor Rick Sherman says a local restaurateur urged closure of the rollicking event, where legislative staffers grab free lunches on the Capitol mall. âThe restaurant owner said heâs losing business because of that barbecue,â Sherman says. âBut itâs a private event, so we donât have any jurisdiction.â
Donât mess with Go Go Gadget Repairs. The Hillsboro fix-it shop has sued two former customers in Washington County small-claims court after they gave the business rotten reviews on Yelp. Jennifer Agerstam wrote she was gouged for replacing glass on an iPhone and a Samsung cellphone. Jon Van Cleef wrote that Go Go Gadget Repairs also charged him more than promised and called the owner âa flat-out crook.â In court filings, the company says the two wrote âfalseâ and âretaliatoryâ reviews that hurt the companyâs reputation. Go Go Gadget Repairs wants $2,300 in damages from each. Owner Jonathan Mulford declined to comment. Agerstam tells WW sheâs fed up with Mulford and angry it will cost her $50 to respond to the suit. âItâs a joke,â she saysâand warns consumers Mulford is operating under a new business name, Tablet Repair PDX.
The bee news keeps buzzing: Two weeks after insecticide use killed 50,000 bumblebees in Wilsonville, a Northeast Portland woman says her landlord wants to evict her hive of 240,000 honeybees. Beekeeper LaTisha Stricklandâwho has kept bees at her rental property for three years without problemsâsays she got word from Fox Property Management that someone in the neighborhood complained, and that she has until July 7 to relocate the hives or she and her bees have to go. Strickland says such a move in hot weather would kill the bees. âThis has been weighing heavy on my spirit,â she says. âI just want to have my bees.â Fox Property Management didnât return WWâs calls.